Alright, I don’t have patience to read this writer’s opinions on massive urban development, and, in fact, I still haven’t finished Jane Jacobs’ book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, but, in case you’re interested, here’s a link to an in-depth analysis of Jane Jacob’s book, in light of current day developments.

Like many people, I made plenty of assumptions based on second- or third hand readings.

For instance, because Jacobs is repeatedly cited in Suburban Nation, the New Urbanist tract by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, I assumed that she would have been a willing accomplice to that movement. It seems logical that Jacobs”with her reputation for advocating close-grained detail and mixed use would support the calibrated street life meted out by Duany and his ilk.

But as I read Jacobs it became clear that she never intended her ideas to be applied to smaller suburban settlements. She was writing only about big cities, with all their native grit and mess. Moreover, she consistently ridiculed the Garden City movement of the nineteenth century, the clearest precursor to New Urbanism, attributing to it the notion of harmony and order imposed and frozen by authoritarian planning.

The Jacobs I thought I knew an advocate for small-scale thinking and an opponent of large-scale projects not the one I discovered when I actually began to read her text.

Complete story: Jane Jacobs Revisited – By Karrie Jacobs, Metropolis Magazine

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Updated: January 2018

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